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Better Health Care Access Needed, Heroux Says

In wake of the deadly mass shooting in Connecticut, the state representative-elect says "we need to make it easier to access and encourage mental health care more than it is easier to access a gun."

Attleboro State Rep.-elect Paul Heroux released the following statement in response to the mass killing at a Connecticut elementary school:

If it is true that the 12/14/12 Connecticut shooter was suffering from serious mental illness, and I believe it is, the awful shooting in Connecticut reminds us of why we need to make it easier to access and encourage mental health care more than it is easier to access a gun.

Put another way, our culture encourages gun ownership but stigmatizes mental health treatment. No one asks to suffer from metal illness anymore than anyone asks to suffer from asthma or diabetes. If these are treated a person can live a fairly normal life. If neither are treated, tragedy can happen. 

My deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the victims.

Gretchen Robinson December 16, 2012 at 10:14 PM
talk about jumping to conclusions, you jump to conclusion that Rep-elect. Heroux is playing politics. You might want to look with new eyes. If ever there was a time for new thinking, it's now. The whole country is traumatized by this. Children were killed. Don't assume and then make comments based on unverified assumptions.
deb of see-attleboro December 17, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Did I miss something? Has the killer been diagnosed with a mental illness that led to this crime?
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 12:45 AM
reportedly had a personality disorder
Wendy Wagner December 17, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Just by the media, so far.
yerkillinme December 17, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Reportedly Gretchen? Reportedly he had a mental illness that went untreated because he didnt have proper access to mental healthcare that caused him to murder these children?
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 04:47 AM
I'm not saying that. Don't start with your inferences and assumptions. It's no help when people deliberately misunderstand what someone is saying. Let's think our way through this like reasonable adults please and not turn this discussion into a divisive one. There are statistics that show that the mentally ill who are under treatment are no more likely to commit violent acts than the average person. I don't have those statistics at hand, and it's late. But they are available with a search.
deb of see-attleboro December 17, 2012 at 04:39 PM
There is yet to be any proof of a mental illness that directly led to this crime. IMO, many of those who claim to be advocates for the mentally ill are actually setting the afflicted back decades. I have heard again and again this man must have been mentally ill. Maybe he was. But isn't it possible to be mentally ill and still be psychotic?
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 07:50 PM
can you clarify your statement. meanwhile read this from the mother a mentally ill son, what she goes through in a day http://news.yahoo.com/am-adam-lanzas-mother-065125396.html
yerkillinme December 17, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Deb, I couldn't agree with you more. People are jumping to conclusions based on unconfirmed news reports about a possible mental illness and if that's not enough, they're indicting the mental healthcare system as though somehow it failed in this case. They're referencing lists of drugs he was supposedly on as reported by Huffpo; I guess HIPPA is alive and well, isn't it? People are making armchair assumptions based on the supposed list of meds he was on. Even if he was mentally ill how does that translate to a breakdown in the mental healthcare system? For all anyone knows he could have been in treatment or at the very least had access to treatment & meds so to throw the mental healthcare system under the bus using this case as an argument is nothing more than politicizing a tragedy. I have seen nothing in the news that suggests he had a violent or criminal history that required forced hospitalization/medication. In my opinion a State Rep from Attleboro has no business weighing in on this subject at this time and in this manner. I'm not disputing anything that has been said about mental illness in general terms and I am as involved with neurological/cognitive/mental health issues as anyone here so I'm not insensitive to the issue.
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 07:58 PM
your kidding, right. We don't have schools in Massachusetts? State Reps don't have a built in interest in protecting children? working with their locale (Attleboro) and local leaders, the public, schools, activists to assure that the proper steps are taken here to prevent something like this happening here??
yerkillinme December 17, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I feel for this woman and I'm in a similar situation however, again, we have NO idea what Lanza's situation was, wether he was denied treatment, what he was diagnosed with, etc. You cannot indict the healthcare system based on what you do not know to be factual in this case and to use this case without knowing the facts is politicizing it.
yerkillinme December 17, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Also re the "stigma" attached to menthal health issues, what stigma? The percentage of kids in the schools on IEP's and with neurological/menthal health diagnoses is a significant percentage of the poplulation. Years ago it wasn't talked about, people were routinely institutionalized. More people are in psychotherapy and seeking treatment today than ever before in history. There's more acceptance and understanding of mental health issues than there ever has been before. Everyone has a family member or close friend w/ a family member with severe issues these days and by and large people are accepting of it. Those with affected family members talk about it openly. Could things be better? Of course, things can always be better, but enough with the victimzation and divisiveness which serves no purpose other than to make certain so-called mental health care advocates promote their political ideology. If anyone really wants to see what the day to day living with the severely impaired is all about send me your email address at yerkillinme@comcast.net Yes Gretchen, even you.
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 08:06 PM
military personnel and veterans don't access mental health care because of the stigma... and not wanting to be labeled. That's one example. Some progress has been made, but more is needed.
yerkillinme December 17, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Gretchen, you do not politicize a tragedy like this to promote a political agenda. You just don't. On the day after a horrific event like this you don't speculate, you don't throw the mental health argument in with the gun debate when you don't know the facts. You don't blame the mental healthcare system when you have no idea what access this person had, what treatments he had or didn'thave. IF (and that's a big IF) it comes out that he didn't have adequate access to mental healthcare, meds, etc. THEN you have this discussion, not a day or two later without knowing the facts.
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 08:14 PM
So now you are shaming and blaming me, saying I have a political agenda. I am a medical person, a former RN and a minister with a long term commitment to the mentally ill. I am also an educator, who has lectured on the history of the treatment of mentally ill in America. Your shaming and blaming won't work with me. Turn your mock outrage to something productive.
yerkillinme December 17, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Gretchen, you're responsible for what you put out there and it's often angry and confrontational. I said Heroux's article was promoting a political agenda and you jumped in head first to tell me how I'm wrong. My invitation for an offline dialogue still stands.
Amy December 17, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I'm not sure what Paul Heroux means by more "access" to health care. Does that mean access to free health care? In this case, I'm not sure that would have been helpful either. His mother was supposedly "affluent". On another note, you can't force anyone to take medication thanks to the ACLU or be institutionalized, thanks to the ACLU. So, even if he had a diagnosed mental illness, he may not have accepted treatment. I think a discussion about mental health would be more helpful than gun control. Another law won't prevent this. I only wish it were that simple. Gun laws didn’t prevent 3000 people dying because of a box cutter.
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Give it up, yerkillinme.
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 08:48 PM
so here's an alternative point of view. We need all points of view and choose whatever is going to protect the children. Make classrooms inaccessible to the public, with locked doors. Only the entry area would be open to parents. Sounds like a prison but that might have made a difference. Anyway, I bet this Texas newspaper doesn't get accused of exploiting a tragedy..... apologies accepted. http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/12/14/4486104/texas-school-where-teachers-carry.html
yerkillinme December 17, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Gretchen, as we have seen in topic after topic it all comes back to you going on about yourself. You have a long term commitment to the mentally ill, good for you, so do I and I'll stack up my commitment with anyone's. In fact, my commitment to it will be necessary long after I'm gone. You don't know about my situation because you're too busy attacking to care, going on about your credentials and not having the self-awareness to ratchet it down when the opportunity was there. In topic after topic you get right to the personal attacks on anyone you disagree with and some of us in particular who get under your skin and true to the pattern, when we reply you become the instant victim. You also seem to think every post is directed at you when it's not.
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 09:07 PM
telling me and others not to make partisan posts is partisan. Check this out by friend, Doug Muder. http://weeklysift.com/2012/12/17/dont-politicize-tragedy-is-itself-partisan-rhetoric/
Richard W. Lunt December 17, 2012 at 10:05 PM
How about not politicizing this tragedy and wait until the official facts from the authorities come out instead of basing your opinions on what is said or discussed in the media. Representative-Elect Heroux is doing a disservice by providing his opinions based on mere assumptions being played out in the media. Better yet, let the families and the country mourn this tragedy before we talk about the politics of how this could have been prevented.
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 10:20 PM
and you just might be a wee bit biased in favor of the outgoing Rep. and thus wanting to criticize our incoming Rep-elect Paul Heroux at every turn
deb of see-attleboro December 17, 2012 at 10:27 PM
If we take matches away from a pyromaniac, will that prevent the boy scouts from teaching their members how to rub two sticks together to create fire?
Richard W. Lunt December 17, 2012 at 11:08 PM
That maybe true; however, in this case my criticizism is justified. Just wait until the mourning period ends and after that period when there is enough concrete proof that this man did have a mental illness and what kind before we spout off our opinions. Heroux is merely basing his opinion on what is being speculated in the media, not the actual facts.
Gretchen Robinson December 17, 2012 at 11:12 PM
No, you are wrong. This gun violence and terrorism is something he knows to the core having studied it. And he is continuing to address issues of concern just as he did in Huffington Post before he ran for election and in local venues while he was running for State Rep. I believe you do him a disservice.
deb of see-attleboro December 18, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Keep it up, Gretchen. As we speak many parents of children with Asperger syndrome are fearful of people just like you.
yerkillinme December 18, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I'm starting with inferences & assumptions? You just answered Deb's question with "Reportedly he had a personality disorder". Do you understand what "reportedly" means? Do you know the definition of speculation? I didn't deliberately misunderstand anything. The point is here that nothing has been confirmed about 1. His mental illness and 2. Whether he did not have access to mental healthcare. How can anyone claim there was a breakdown in the mental healthcare system in this case without knowing the facts? What laws or funding should have been in place to prevent this? 50% more mental healthcare funding? A law forcibly institutionalizing/medicating someone with no prior criminal record or history of violence? Do you know that he was not in treatment or was denied treatment? Coming out one day after the event with zero facts and engaging in speculation hurts the mental healthcare debate more than it helps it, in my opinion. You don't have to agree with me but no one's forcing you to follow each of my posts and respond angrily to them either.
Gretchen Robinson December 18, 2012 at 01:08 AM
no they're not. NAMI Attleboro brought in speakers from Bradley Hospital to speak on Autism and Asperger's Disease. Several parents came, some from as far away as Wrentham where there is an active group. It was videoed and shown on DoubleAces. People around the world can watch it via the internet. And I co-led a novel about a boy who had Asperger's called "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night." The second brought in a good group of people, many of whom came to learn about Asperger's Disease. I'd really like to know why you try to shoot down everything I say? Is it personal? I don't think we've ever met.
deb of see-attleboro December 18, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Are you directing your comment to me, Gretchen? If so, I assure you it is nothing personal. My intention is not to shoot down everything you say. In fact, I often hold back on commenting! Carry on!:)

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